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“Wonderful - 4 day Kayak with Whales trip”

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Tour areas include Johnstone Strait and Nuchatlitz Inlet on Vancouver Island, Gwaii Haanas National Park on Haida Gwaii, and the Great Bear Rainforest on BC's central coast. No experience is necessary for most tours and family friendly departures available.
Reviewed September 24, 2016

My husband and I had a fantastic time on this trip. We did a similar trip in the past out of San Juan Island in the U.S. and this trip far surpassed that experience. The video on the website well represented our experience. This area is incredibly beautiful and so undeveloped compared to the San Juan Islands. Most days we only saw a handful of motorized boats. Never a guarantee of wildlife but we saw orcas, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoise, lots of eagles and other sea birds, mink and deer. The camp setup is very comfortable and they took great care of us. Our 2 guides Andrew and Agnes were amazing! We learned so much about the area and the people that live there. Can't wait to go back!

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank Ann V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Manager at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips, responded to this reviewResponded November 3, 2016

Hi Ann,

Thank you for taking the time to review your four day base camp trip with us. It was a pleasure kayaking with you and your husband - the dolphin encounter we had on your trip was a highlight of the summer for me. I will be sure to pass your comments along to Agnes as well.

Regards,
Andrew

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Write a ReviewReviews (119)
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"base camp"
in 36 reviews
"haida gwaii"
in 8 reviews
"johnstone strait"
in 10 reviews
"hanson island"
in 12 reviews
"pre trip"
in 7 reviews
"bird life"
in 7 reviews
"bald eagles"
in 15 reviews
"cheesecake"
in 5 reviews
"dry bags"
in 5 reviews
"telegraph cove"
in 13 reviews
"amazing trip"
in 8 reviews
"fresh fruit"
in 4 reviews
"black bear resort"
in 4 reviews
"single kayaks"
in 4 reviews
"food was amazing"
in 4 reviews
"experienced kayakers"
in 3 reviews
"every night"
in 4 reviews
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38 - 42 of 119 reviews

Reviewed September 23, 2016

All the above marine animals were spotted a few times in the deep cold waters of the Broughton Archipelago in the summer of 2016. It was the noises of the fins of the killer whales hitting the surface water only meters from our camp site on Hansen Island that I remember most. Hearing the whales communicate with one another as they swam through the strait late at night still reverberates with me. The kayaking, the guides, the professionalism of the company and the guides made the trip very memorable. Comfort is a highlight starting with the high spacious tents, the wonderful established camp with its covered eating kitchen, state of the art outhouse, and its two beaches giving eye sight access to the marine life.....all add to a terrific trip. Will definitely go back to paddle with Kingfisher again soon. Besides the staff were terrific helping me settle and pick up my Weimaraner from the kennel in Port Hardy.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank glx2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips, responded to this reviewResponded November 3, 2016

Hi glx2016,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your four day base camp trip with us. It was a pleasure meeting you and your partner and I hope you will both join us again sometime soon.

By the way, I think this is the first time i have heard of our outhouses referred to as "state of the art". For potential visitors reading this, the are pretty basic but with improvements we made this past year we have had many comments on them being the nicest outhouses our guests have used.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed September 20, 2016

I would not recommend this kayak trip because the company did not put us in an area that " two days of the six day tour does spend time in areas where we are less likely to see them" (company owner's quote). It was the afternoon of the fourth day that we got into the area that the head guide said the orcas were. When the guide was questioned at the end of the trip about not starting out in the area that she said the orcas were she changed her story and said that the orcas are everywhere and this is the itinerary. When you book a six day trip and really only spend a day and a half in the area where the orcas are better known to be and the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve is located is disappointing. Yes. The company can use the excuse that they cannot guarantee we will see orcas which I understand. But they should do everything they can to try and do the best they can to do it.
The guides and kayak and camping equipment were very good. The food was very good to excellent. Had a great time kayaking with the group that was on this tour. But I was very disappointed and frustrated that the company did not look out for the guests in trying to provide the best opportunity for us to see kayaks.

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank Mark T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips, responded to this reviewResponded November 3, 2016

Hi Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your six day day kayak trip with us plus exchanging emails with me after your trip. I am glad you enjoyed many aspects of your trip and understand your disappointment in not seeing orcas.

Some of the below we have already discussed via email but for the benefit of TripAdvisor readers and possible future guests considering a trip I will repeat it below.

As the tour itinerary states on our website, "the trip starts in the Broughton Archipelago, a maze of small islets, and heads south into Johnstone Strait, where the chances of seeing orcas and humpback whales is greatest." While it is possible we may see orcas in the archipelago it is less likely than in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound and you are correct in quoting me as "two days of the six day tour does spend time in areas where we are less likely to see them". The six day trip is designed to give our guests a more complete perspective of the area, the scenery, paddling routes, and the wildlife it offers compared to our four day base camp trips that only paddles in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound.

As you mentioned in our earlier conversation the lead guide mentioned on day one of the trip that the orcas were near Hanson Island when you started. From our emails and the review it appears you may think that the orcas remain in one area the entire time. That same pod of orcas later that day were about 10 miles west off Malcolm Island while later still was about 20 miles to the east. Orcas may travel up to 100 miles in a day, so when the guide later said "the orcas are everywhere" her meaning was that they cover a large area. The guides do their best to put you in the right area to see orcas, they communicate with other kayakers, whale watchers, and researchers to this end but are also constrained by how far and fast we can travel in a kayak plus availability of camp sites, weather, tides, currents, and the group's abilities.

For example, on the fourth day of your trip I was leading another group and was in the same general area as your group. Both your guides and I had heard from whale watchers earlier in the day that orcas were a few miles to the west of us but coming in our direction. Both our groups were well positioned to see them if they travelled down Blackfish Sound along the Hanson Island shoreline or passed through Weynton Passage into Johnstone Strait. It was a foggy day and we could not see them in the distance but through reports we received and our best guesses it sounded like they would travel north along the Hanson shoreline and we would both get a good view. Unfortunately, before they reached us they started to cross to the other side of the sound in the fog. As the fog was lifting both our groups started to paddle to the centre of the sound to hopefully see them but they just kept swimming away from us. As it turns out there were two pods of orcas and they both swam past where you camped on the first night of your trip plus close to the island you had camped the previous night.

It is not often that a trip does not see orcas in August, I believe yours was the third or fourth six day trip we have had in eighteen years that has not seen them in August. But it can happen, we are dealing with wildlife, and our guides are great at showing you everything else the area has to offer like the humpback whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, sea birds, and inter-tidal life (and from what you and the other guests on your trip said, it sounds like you saw a lot).

As it turns out this trip may not have been the best fit for you and hopefully your review will make future potential guests ask if this is the right trip for them too. Maybe our shorter base camp trip would have been the right fit - as all four days are spent in the Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound area - but maybe a boat based trip that can cover much more distance would have been the way to go.

After reviewing our website we encourage everyone interested in our tours to call or email us to discuss our many different trips to help them find the right one for them. We will even suggest other companies or completely different types of tours if we think what we offer is not what you are looking for.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed September 13, 2016

Camping. Tents. and great food besides the outstanding guides and kayaking. All in one trip. Pre trip information was great. Peter and Agnes the guides was very attentive
to skill levels, tides, speeds and weather, hump backs, sea lions, and seals. Equipment provided was perfect. But bring more socks! Would go back with them for another trip.

Date of experience: September 2016
Thank tjhostenske
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips, responded to this reviewResponded September 16, 2016

Hi tjhostenske,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your "Orca Waters Explorer" kayak tour. I am happy to know you enjoyed your trip with us. I will be sure to pass your comments along to Peter and Agnes. Hopefully we will see you on another adventure with us some time soon.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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Reviewed September 4, 2016

Fabulous trip, wonderful base camp, great guides, excellent food, loads of wildlife - awesome! A really friendly operation, well organised, in a special place. Little beats going to sleep in your tent with humpbacks blowing just offshore. Definitely recommended.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank MikeKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingfisherKayaking, Owner at Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Orca Waters Kayak Day Trips, responded to this reviewResponded September 16, 2016

Hi MikeKiwi,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your "Whales and Grizzly Bears" base camp kayak tour. I am happy to know you enjoyed your trip with us. We hope to see you on another adventure some time soon.

Regards,
Andrew Jones

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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